Insurer reports 12.1% increase in GWP

Lloyd’s insurer Lancashire will return more than $400m (£214m) to shareholders through a special dividend and share buy-back.

Chief executive Richard Brindle said: “This is just about us returning good profits this year after we did not return any capital last year. It does not show that we have a negative outlook on our markets.”

It comes as the Bermuda-based firm reported a 12.1% increase in gross written premium for the third quarter, compared with the same period last year.

The increase was driven by a 26.7% rise in its property book, as Lancashire expanded capacity in reinsurance.

Brindle said: “We have been encouraged by the underwriting discipline demonstrated by the market compared to previous cycles, particularly in the reinsurance sector. This is borne out by the fact that we are still achieving positive renewal price increases in the majority of our classes.”

Investor relations manager Jonny Creagh-Coen said that Lancashire had seen an opportunity to expand in the property catastrophe market in the USA, while other players were moving out.

He said Lancashire had expanded its footprint in the south east and north east of America, and would look to raise its capacity in other global markets over the next year.